Published: 13th October 2018
How to influence people to accept your ideas willingly and ethically
Influencing is the power to make other people agree with your opinions or get them to willingly and ethically do what you want them to
"I have a dream," thundered Dr Martin Luther King, as he moved a generation of people with his iconic speech. He was a motivator par excellence who influenced people with his thinking and ability to create a compelling vision of the future. He was an influencer.
Now, let’s look at what influencing is all about. Influencing is the power to make other people agree with your opinions or get them to willingly and ethically do what you want them to, the ability to influence people is one of the greatest qualities one could ever have to be successful. Dr Tim Baker explains in his book The New Influencing Toolkit that there are two kinds of influencing styles, Push and Pull. The first is a direct way of putting across your point and the second is a very subtle approach. Both the styles can be combined with an emotional and logical approach. He further describes this in four strategies, which he calls ‘the influencing framework’. Each of these strategies can be highly effective when mapped against the right situation.
Investigation: This is a push style that is packed with logic and analysis to persuade. You can use charts and graphs to support your argument and drive it to closure. Hard-nosed journalists use this style to up their viewership.
Calculation: This is a pull style, logical in approach. Politicians, financial advisors and salespeople use this to a great effect, promoting the positives and highlighting the weakness in the current state of affairs. It could be used to implement a new system or to get a new proposal accepted.
Motivation: This is a push style loaded with emotions, typically a ‘tugging at the heartstrings’ type of emotional appeal. It pays if you have a way with words and an ability to dramatise your content. Entrepreneurs, while pitching their start-up funding could use this style for maximising their results.
Collaboration: This approach uses both push and pulls styles and emotion. It involves engaging people’s hearts and minds in the decision-making process and building great teams.
So how does it all come together? Let’s say you want to introduce a new training intervention in your organisation and your senior leaders are not very convinced with the idea, how do you get a buy-in using this influencing framework. You first gather all the facts supporting the data after talking to the relevant experts and presenting those in a structured and logical manner (Investigation). You then understand the risks of continuing with the present system, thus listing out the merits and demerits.
Next up, identify a few compelling reasons as to why your idea should be implemented (Calculation). Create a compelling vision for the future as a result of adopting this methodology and dramatise your argument with some examples (Motivation). Then you understand your few vital stakeholders, form a high powered team and adopt a collaborative problem-solving approach (Collaboration).
This will have everyone eating out of your hands.